There is no shortage of experts who perpetually remark the importance of a solid IT infrastructure in today’s business landscape. A far-reaching consensus among experts has long acknowledged not only that the IT infrastructure plays the role of a veritable backbone in business operations, but also that, like other business-enabling assets, it has to be properly managed.
However, the focus has historically been on the IT infrastructure’s operational role: computers and computing services, whether local or cloud-based, have traditionally been viewed strictly in terms of allowing work to be done faster. A typed-up report is instantly sent by e-mail to an office from another continent; a price change can happen instantly; a spreadsheet gives, within minutes, predictions that would have otherwise required many hours of tedious calculations. While valuable in its own right, this focus is somewhat near-sighted in today’s turbulent business environment.
Giving Quick Answers in a Quick World
As the pace of business has quickened, so has the life cycle of advantages and opportunities; so much, in fact, that many specialists, such as Rita McGrath and Ian MacMillan, have begun speaking of “transient advantages” that render the traditional view of strategy-driven sustainable competitive advantages.
Exploiting opportunities in this fast-paced world requires valid, in-depth metrics just as much as traditional, more slow-paced methods; but it also requires these metrics to be delivered much faster, and placed in a context that acknowledges their transient state. Such metrics cannot be delivered without a well-functioning, efficient IT infrastructure, which renders its importance even more evident. Needless to say, acting on every available opportunity is just as critical as knowing about its existence and potential. The operational role of IT infrastructure plays a fundamental role here as well, as the means through which management decisions are put in practice.
In other words, rapid access and high availability of the IT infrastructure are required in both facets of efficient business activities: rapid access to business metrics enables opportunities and risks to be identified in a timely manner, while rapid access and high availability of critical technology enables an organization to take advantage of identified opportunities and mitigate risks.
The IT Operations Analytics Edge
Efficient management of the IT infrastructure played a pivotal role in the implementation of these decisions per se (which goes without saying for a technology company, after all). However, the role of a well-managed IT infrastructure in deciding on this course of action cannot be understated, either. Timely access to metrics allowed management teams to quickly and correctly assess the importance of the growing web application field – and then the importance of integrating development tools in a properly supported SaaS framework like Microsoft Azure. It also allowed resources to be diverted in a timely manner once the decisions were made, with minimal operational costs.
But the impact of proper IT operations analytics is not only visible over long periods of times. Proactive control of service performance and availability is what keeps Microsoft’s customer-facing electronic presence – the Apps & Windows Store, its website and support pages – available and responsive through every second of a post-launch rush. This is tremendously important not only for their image and reputation, but also, in the store’s case, for its stream of revenue. Proactive control of service quality is also essential internally as well: automotive manufacturers, for instance, depend heavily on their ability to continuously monitor the availability and status of critical components, not only for manufacturing efficiency, but also in order to be able to answer to safety-related demands.
An abundance of the metrics involved in proactive service quality control is obtained through careful analysis of large amounts of data that may be unstructured or barely structured (log data, content analysis etc.). A company’s IT infrastructure is obviously instrumental not only in the analysis itself, but also in the collection of such data, which makes service quality control – both in its proactive and in its reactive approaches – essential to correct and timely decision-making.
Read the complete blog on our website and learn more about the benefits of ITOA.